In Italian, any verb that follows the plural first-person pronoun noi (we) must be conjugated with the ending -iamo in the present tense.
This means that, for example, the infinitive andare (to go) becomes noi andiamo (we go), fare (to do/make) becomes noi facciamo (we do/make) and venire (to come) becomes noi veniamo (we come).
Important: In Italian, it is possible to omit subject pronouns such as tu (you), noi (we), loro (they) and so on if the subject is already made explicit from the context, or if the conjugation already tells us what the pronoun is. (-iamo can only be used with noi, so we know the subject is we even if it is not stated explicitly.)
What’s interesting is that -iamo can also mean let’s when used as an imperative. In this case, it always appears without the pronoun noi. For example:
- Andiamo! = Let’s go!
- Leggiamo! = Let’s read!
- Giochiamo! = Let’s play!
This brings us to our expression of the week – mangiamo – which we now know can mean we eat when used in a neutral sentence or Let’s eat! when used as an imperative.
(Noi) mangiamo il gelato ogni sera dopo cena.
We eat ice cream every evening after supper.
Mangiamo il gelato prima che si sciolga!
Let’s eat the ice cream before it melts!
Some more subtle, roundabout ways of saying the same thing include:
- Andiamo a mangiare qualcosa. = Let’s go eat something.
- Perché non mangiamo…? = Why don’t we eat…?
- Che ne dici se mangiamo…? = What would you say if we ate…?
- Ti va di mangiare…? = Do you fancy eating…?
- Hai voglia di mangiare…? = Do you feel like eating…?